Farewell to The People's President - Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, a Missile Man
Dr APJ Abdul Kalam
Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, revered and venerated by the youth, respected and applauded by the people, became the 11th President of India and held the position between 2002 and 2007. His popularity cut across all sections of the society, regardless of caste, creed, or religion. A man of great stature, who came from outside the political class and became a national icon. Get the full coverage on AAJ TAK a Hindi News Channel in Australia.
Real Bharat Ratna
But, let it not be mistaken. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam's stature far preceded his presidency. He was the pioneer of the India's indigenous Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) in 1983. The IGMDP eventually went on to make the over 5,000-km Agni-V missile, propelling India into the elite few nations capable of building inter-continental ballistics missiles (ICBM). It was during his tenure as head of DRDO that the Pokhran-II nuclear tests were covertly and successfully carried out in the Thar desert, fooling US satellites and other intelligence-gathering mechanisms. This is why he was popularly known as India's Missile Man. His efforts in India's space and missile programs went on to earn him a 'Bharat Ratna' (Jewel of India), India's highest civilian award.
President of India
On becoming the president, he embodied a figure that aspirational India could look up to, a man of great knowledge, whose messages attracted and inspired the youth of the country, like few did before him. Even the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the President of India, reflected his personality. Hereto preserved only for high official ceremonies, it was now open to the public. Many a young entrepreneurs recall their meeting the President in his office, where the great scientist heard out their ideas for India's future and encouraged them. His informal persona, simplicity and integrity made him a legend for a generation looking for heroes. His moral purpose lay not in ceremonial matters of the state but among school and college students. When asked about the prospect of contesting the presidential seat for a second term, he refused saying, "My conscience is not permitting me to contest." After his term at the office ended, travellers would often find him standing in queue at airports, refusing to accept any VIP privileges.
Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was an embodiment of a new India. A common Muslim boy, through sheer determination and hard work, went on to become a missile scientist, then the chief scientific adviser to the Prime Minister, then secretary of DRDO, and then President of India. It's a great loss for the country to lose such a visionary, when he passed away on Monday at around 6:30 PM. Seeing how he captured the imagination of India's youth, it would seem fitting that he left this world doing what he did best, educating and inspiring students at the Indian Institute of Technology, Shillong. Farewell to a great man.
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